Pepperoni Rolls

I could not think of a better way to get back into blogging and start the new year than with these amazing pepperoni rolls. These fabulous rolls are apparently the official food of West Virginia. They were first served at a bakery in 1927 as a lunch option for coal miners. The first time I ate these rolls was on the beach in Wilmington at my bff’s bachelorette party. Her mom is an expert pepperoni roll maker from WV. I was instantly addicted. They really are the perfect on the go food. So this story should kind of explain my absence from blogging… We took a lot of trips this year. WV, Mexico, Austin, Houston, Wilmington, Durham. We also built a house and made a human who will arrive sometime in March. Excuses,  excuses. But I have a number of amazing new cookbooks that I am beyond excited to dive into and share on the blog. Now that we are moved into our new home with our incredible kitchen I’ve made a long to-do list from Vivian Howard’s new book, the Poole’s diner cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies, ad hoc at home, just to name a few.

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There are some arguments about what makes the best pepperoni roll. Most west Virginians seem to prefer the chopped up stick pepperoni. But I kind of like layering the sliced pepperoni with shredded mozzarella cheese, as in the recipe below. You can obviously use whatever pepperoni and cheese you have on hand. Some people believe these should be made with Colby jack, and I’m sure you could substitute this or cheddar or whatever cheese you have in your fridge. There are also some recipes out there that use cubes cut from blocks of cheese. So, make this basic roll dough and stuff whatever delicious meats and cheeses you have in your fridge inside, and I think it will probably be good. Not to mention, you can throw them in a big ziplock and take them to the beach, the park, skiing, wine tasting, tailgating, float tripping. The possibilities are endless!

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I have tried some Italian bread recipes for these rolls and I just really prefer my basic soft dinner roll. This roll recipe is simple and nearly fool proof. Unless it’s Christmas, you’re hosting 14 people, and you forget to put the salt in your bread dough. Everyone still seemed to like the dinner rolls but for me they were a mega failure. You can use your stand mixer to knead the dough and save yourself frustration/time/mess. The dough will seem really sticky when you set it aside to rise, don’t worry. Do use plenty of flour when you go to form your rolls. This recipe should make 24 pepperoni rolls. So just divide your dough into 4 pieces, divide those in half, and divide the 8 pieces you have now into thirds. This video will give you some idea of how to form your rolls. I admit that this batch during the video really had a bit too much flour. The dough should really be stickier and you will be patting it out more than rolling it in your hands.

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As far as wine pairings go, there are a number of options here. If you are eating these in the winter or at a football tailgate, serve them with sangiovese or pinot noir. But if you are eating these on the beach or during a day out on a boat… three words: Rosé all day. You really cannot go wrong with most rosé wines if you spend about $12. Justin makes a fabulous blush wine for about $20 if you want to spend a little more. You can also impress your wine loving friends and go for a côtes du rhône rosé such as E. Guigal. I would hazard to say that any rosé sparkling wine will pair excellently with these pepperoni rolls on a hot day.

Pepperoni rolls:

1 1/2 cups milk (can sub 1/2 cup cream and 1 cup water)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups ( 820 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for forming the rolls
Olive oil for the bowl and brushing
6 oz package sliced pepperoni
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Italian seasoning and Kraft grated Parmesan cheese for the tops (optional)

Make the bread dough:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and mix in the butter salt, and sugar. Allow this to cool for 10 min while you measure the rest of your ingredients. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, making sure it foams up.

Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook and pour the milk/butter/sugar/salt into the bowl of the mixer. Pour in the 3 eggs, yeast dissolved in water, and about half the flour. Beat on low speed until this is all incorporated.

Add in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of bowl. Knead with the dough hook, on low to medium speed, for 5 minutes.

Oil a large bowl with olive oil and dump the dough from the mixer into this, turning to coat the dough. Lightly cover with a towel or Saran Wrap. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for at least 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

Make the pepperoni rolls:

Line a 9 x 13 inch metal pan with parchment (or foil/release paper) or butter/flour the pan.

On a well floured surface, dump the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into fourths. Divide these pieces in half. Divide each of these pieces into three. You should get 24 pepperoni rolls.

Flatten each piece of dough with your hands and press 4-5 pepperoni slices and pinch of mozzarella cheese into the dough. (I try to jam in as much pepperonis and cheese as I can.) See the above picture for reference. Pull the bottom dough around the pepperonis and cheese, pinching together. Flip it over and mold into a ball as best you can. Place into the pan with the pinched side down.

Allow the rolls to rise for 30-40 minutes until they are poofed up. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack so it is in the center of the oven.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and Italian seasoning if you desire. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until they are golden brown.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Balsamic Stuffed Mushrooms

My husband rarely picks things out at the store. Mostly he just walks around pushing the cart and looking at sports news on his phone. But one day at the store, he reached out for portobellos and said “Let’s get these.” I do not care for mushrooms, but for him I will cook whatever he wants. Especially when he chose something at the grocery store for once in 2 years. I actually ate one of these mushrooms, and it was pretty good. But he should really be the one who writes this post because he absolutely loved them. This recipe was inspired by my current obsession for all things balsamic vinaigrette. Which actually stems from all the amazing fresh strawberries that I am putting on salads lately. The blog has really been all over the place this summer. Mostly because at home I have just been grilling simple things and the rest of the time I am eating the most amazing salads ever (with the leftovers from the grill).

 

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You can buy pretty great balsamic vinaigrette from the refrigerated dressing section at the store. But if you have an extra few minutes, you should definitely make your own. Below is the vinaigrette recipe I have been make. Soon I will post a perfected creamy balsamic vinaigrette that will make you want to eat a salad immediately. Whether you like mushrooms or not, this recipe will impress all your friends at your next barbecue. In case you don’t know anything about mushrooms, here is an article about how to select and prepare portobellos.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a screw top mason jar (or whatever container you have on hand) and shake until combined.

Balsamic Stuffed Mushrooms

6 large-ish portobellos
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp italian seasoning blend
1 tsp chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter, melted

Use a spoon to scrape out the gills of the mushrooms (they can be eaten but will turn everything a murky brown color). Paint the mushrooms inside and out with vinaigrette. Arrange hollow side up and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to medium heat or prepare a medium heat fire in your charcoal grill. Mix together the panko, mozzarella, parmesan, italian seasoning, chopped garlic cloves. Pour melted butter over the dry mixture and toss together. Stuff the mushrooms with the panko mixture.

Place mushrooms with the stuffing side up onto the grill. Cook until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 7 minutes. Shift them around occasionally so that they cook evenly.

Gougères

This recipe is long overdo. I started making these around the holidays. I was fortunate to attend 2 and host 1 friendsgiving this last year. I prepared these for all three and have not stopped making them since! Gougères are a cheese pastry made from pâte à choux, the same dough used for cream puffs or éclairs. You can and should master this gougère recipe and then you will easily make éclairs and cream puffs. There are no rare or complicated ingredients here, just French technique. Almost any cheese will work for these, gruyère is traditional, sharp white cheddar is also wonderful. I always make a huge batch of these and freeze half of them for another day. They go from the freezer to the oven and you have an impressive appetizer for any gathering. You can make these gougères more perfectly shaped by piping them with a pastry bag, I just use a cookie scoop.

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The best way to start any dinner or party is with sparkling wine, and this decadent pastry appetizer warrants a glass of champagne. I was recently apart of a beer dinner hosted by New Belgium and got to try some of their new beers. I am now obsessed with their American pale wheat ale, Snapshot. I am so glad it is permanent and not a seasonal beer. It is packed with flavor and has a crisp tart finish. I have not found a beer I liked this much in forever. It has a balanced sour taste with wonderful notes of lemon and citrus. So perfect for hot weather!

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Gougères

1 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated cheese, gruyère or cheddar

In a 4 quart saucepan, mix together the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat and add the flour. Stir until the mixture comes together. It will look like mashed potatoes.

Place the pan back on the burner over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes. The dough will be glistening and stiff enough to hold a spoon upright.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium low speed for one minute or until the dough is just warm and no longer steaming. With the mixer running, add the egg in 4 additions. Waiting between each addition for the egg to be absorbed. The dough should be very smooth and creamy. Beat in the cheese.

Heat the oven to 450°. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop (or a spoon if you do not have one) scoop tablespoons of dough onto prepared sheet pans.

Bake for 5 minutes at 450° and then turn the heat down to 350°. Bake for another 20 minutes, rotating halfway through the time. When they are done they will be puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe in Bouchon Bakery also seen here.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza

What is missing from the title of this pizza is the bacon. I love bacon just as much as the next person. But I have to say the impressive flavor in this pizza is from the gruyere and the caramelized onions. But don’t worry, there is plenty of bacon. This recipe was inspired by an oh so fabulous restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer, in Kinston, NC. They have a pizza with these ingredients PLUS pork belly. It is intense. You could use pork belly for this recipe, but I always have bacon in the fridge so I used that. This recipe is guaranteed to impress. Ideally you will have a half recipe of pizza dough in the fridge or freezer ready to go for this recipe.

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There are so many wines that would complement this fabulous appetizer. But it is October and there is nothing better paired with football weekends and this pizza than Stella Artois Cidre. This is a much brighter hard apple cider than most other brands. Th apple flavor complements all the ingredients in this pizza in an amazing way. The Cidre is very light with delicate apple flavor.

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Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza
Serves 6 as an appetizer.

1/2 recipe Pizza Dough
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large vidalia onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces gruyere cheese, grated

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the bacon until some of the fat is rendered but the bacon is not fully crispy (it will continue cooking in the oven). Remove the bacon to a paper towel. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

Decrease the heat to low and add the butter to the skillet. Toss in the sliced onions and salt. Cover and cook the onions for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Then stir in the brown sugar and pepper and cook for 15 minutes more. Add in the minced garlic, cook 1 minute. Remove onions to a bowl.

Roll out your pizza dough between oiled sheets of parchment to a 12 inch circle. (The parchment will make this easier.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and remove the parchment from the top of the pizza dough. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Place the dough on a baking sheet. Cover it with half of the gruyere, then cover with onions, then sprinkle the bacon. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. The pizza will slide right off the parchment, slice on a cutting board.

Alternate method: If using a pizza stone, preheat oven to 500 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Proscuitto Macaroni and Cheese Cups

This is mac and cheese innovation. You can serve mac and cheese at parties or at your tailgate and no one needs a fork! I even served them at Thanksgiving. The cheese sauce here has an amazing flavor that beats all other recipes. And I don’t think I have to say it, but proscuitto is an amazing complement to mac and cheese. You will be surprised at how quickly these come together. Serve these with something bubbly, like Friexenet Cava.

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8 oz elbow macaroni
12 thin slices of proscuitto
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
1 14 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook untilal dente, based on the package directions. Drain the past and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place each slice of proscuitto in each muffin well, lining the bottom and edges.

In a small frying pan melt one tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until browned and toasted. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan on medium low heat. Add in the flour and stir constantly. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes until slightly brown in color.

Whisk in the milk slowly and continue whisking out any lumps. Cook for 7 minutes, simmering, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in the cheeses, mustard, sriracha, salt and pepper. Mix cheese sauce into the noodles.

Scoop the macaroni and cheese into the prepared muffin wells. Sprinkle with the panko. Bake for 25 minutes.

Adapted from chow.com.